Luddites of the world, technology wants to be your friend during the college admissions process.
Here are a few ways that embracing technology can help you or your child enhance the college application process.
Luddites: 1000-page books full of SAT practice tests and vocabulary words.
Techno-savvy: Khan Academy, College Board, Kaplan all have free online practice SAT tests.
Luddites: Books full of college descriptions, SAT/GPA scores, lists of majors, and cost formulas followed by phone calls and trips to each prospective college to help winnow down the choices.
Techno-savvy: Naviance, College Data and other college search sites demystify your choices and allow you to search by the criteria you want. Additionally, every college site has a Net Price Calculator to give you real numbers to help you plan.
Luddites: Typed or handwritten college applications. Need I say more?
Techno-savvy: The Common App and other colleges' online applications let you enter your repeating data once--and only once--leaving you time for crafting the perfect essay.
SAT/ACT Scores, Transcripts, and Letters of Recommendation
Luddites: One word: stamps!
Techno-savvy: Teachers and transcript officials can zap your requests to your schools in no time through email or Naviance.
Luddites: Multiple multi-day trips and walking tours of universities.
Techno-savvy: Online tours, smartphone apps, and question/answer sessions.
Luddites: If I need you in March, I'll just look for you in your lawn chair by the mail box. Tell your postal carrier I said hello while you're waiting for the fat envelopes.
Techno-savvy: While you still have to wait, hitting refresh on the college's Application Status page is certainly easier.
Financial Aid Forms
Luddites: Fill them out by hand and then mail to each school.
Techno-savvy: FAFSA and CSS allow you to do this process once and then distribute to every school you're interested in.
Change can be Tough...
I know for some the transition to technology is difficult. However, your college counselors are here to help.
What technology will do is get better information to you and colleges faster, which will help ease the entire process. We can talk with you about your college preferences, direct you to websites, help you understand the electronic admissions process, email you up-to-date deadlines and information, direct you to scholarship searches, and help you with your financial aid forms. We can get information from you via email (although the phone or face-to-face is great too) and we can get information to you as well via Facebook, Twitter, email, e-newsletters and the like.
So, if even for this process alone you come out into the light of the computer screen, please do. When your child leaves home successfully for college, you can turn the light back off. I'll even buy you a pack of stamps for your trouble.
A College Counselor who asks and answers the tough questions.